Content Calendars. They're the key to executing a successful, cohesive content strategy across multiple channels with multiple stakeholders. But, all too often, they end up neglected, outdated or worse, no one bothers to put in the time to develop a marketing calendar at all because the content generation department (you) is too busy writing ad hoc pieces just to get up a new post before deadline.
Thankfully, many great marketing campaigns have run without the assistance of a marketing calendar or content calendar, but the question remains: Do you really need a content calendar?
What is a content calendar?
A content calendar is usually in the form of a spreadsheet with multiple tabs. Your main tab shows your published/scheduled content, another shows content that's in the works with expected deadlines and publish dates, another will have stories that you plan to share on social media, another with legacy (evergreen) content that can be leveraged for re-sharing, and more. Your content calendar is a piece of your overall marketing mix and should be part of the overall marketing calendar. Make sure your content is doing it's job to support the entire organization by publishing the right message at the right time, in harmony with your other marketing initiatives.
If you want a more visual representation of your content & publishing calendar, you can easily set it up in Google Calendar (example here) or we use a tool called DoInbound which is a fantastic inbound marketing project management system that keeps our team on point.
Why would you need a content calendar?
- Advanced planning = better campaigns
- Advanced production = less stress
- Increased collaboration = everybody is happy
- Start the trend instead of jumping on it
What should you include in a content calendar?
- An annual calendar including publish dates for: scheduled blog posts, email blasts, new website content, infographs, and social media updates
- Deadlines for the above content to be submitted for approval
- Quarterly content offers + blog post topics to support them
- Brainstorming ideas for your content
- A tab with your target persona info to keep you on track
- Strategic promotion balancing (spread out your posts so everyone gets some social media love)
- Great ideas for next year
Is it time to make yourself a marketing calendar? Take the quiz below and find out!